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Lebanon: Commemorating the Civil War

April 13 marked the 33rd anniversary of the beginning of the Lebanese civil war which ended, officially, in 1990. Lebanese, who are anxious that the violence may be renewed any time, commemorated the occasion with events to raise awareness against it. Bloggers too wrote about the war from different angles as usual; some with lengthy analysis of what caused it and others with reports on some of the anti–war activities. Here is a summary from some of the blogs:

Tantalus publishes a very angry letter from one of the readers calling for discrediting the Lebanese leaders and politicians for putting the lives of the people in jeopardy time after time. The writer also discourages people from participating in events marking the occasion:

This weekend is the commemoration of the Lebanese civil war. How will you find the right angle to write about the irony, disgust and ignorance that accompanies this date? Do you know that to this day we have no real count of how many people died during the war? I have attached the losses from only the past year of tragic events.

If I had a blog… I wouldn't vent this weekend. I wouldn't blame politicians. I would call for people to stop giving them credit, legitimacy and what have you… Not everyone deserves a second chance..not in politics and government you dont get a second chance. when you're dealing with the lives of millions and u have all the resources in the world, you should try to get it right the first time. these guys have had dozens of chances. Enough is Enough.. people are allowing them to do this.
F*** Lebanese politicians, and f*** second chances.

And, oh s***** Lebanese people, whenever you participate in any of these stupid events, the only people who take credit for it are the f***ing
politicians. It's called PR. You are numbers and statistics for someone's PR campaign.

In one of the events taking place to mark the memory of the civil war and warn against it, a large number of toilet seats were set to be used as seats. But why were toilet seats used? Sietske explains and posts photos of the setup:

These toilets are supposed to serve as seats for the public for tonight’s concert.

toilet seats arranged as part of event commemorating lebanese civil war

This particular exhibition is a commemoration of the old civil war, which officially started today, on April 13, some 33 years ago. (1975 – 1990).
The date is often seen as the ‘official’ beginning of the Lebanese Civil War. On this day, in 1975 a busload of Palestinians got ambushed in a Christian neighborhood, after earlier that day an assassination attempt had been carried out on a Christian leader. Nobody ever got caught of course, for either event, but that is quite common for this country.

However, is it not only a commemoration, but also a reminder, or a strong warning, to people of the possibilities, and the ludicrousness, of a new civil war. So why the toilets, you may wonder?
People in Lebanon have been hiding in toilets for 15 years, so you’d figure they’d have learned something in the meantime.
For those unfamiliar with the mechanisms of a (civil) war; the toilet (or bathroom) is supposedly the safest room in the house during shelling because a) it has either no windows or very small windows, and b) most bathrooms in Lebanon have a double ceiling, because the water tank for your shower is right above the bathroom.
The people that I know usually hid out in the corridors, or the underground basement of their building, but quite a few must have spend substantial time in the toilet.
Hence the title of this installation.

Marxist from Lebanon analyzes how the two major forces are neutralizing any possibility for a third political group or party to rise. In addition to this MFL writes this article on “the Causes of the Lebanese Civil War”. It is notable that the bickering between these two major groups, pro–government and opposition, it so tense that some fear a new civil strife in the near future:

In Lebanon, the majority of the civilians do not want a civil war; however, that was the case back in 1975 and they were dragged to a civil war.

The current politicians are practicing a process what is called: demobilization. This means all non-party affiliates are de-activated due to the lack of availability of alternatives or options to impose the over-all populations’ voice on the politicians. Henceforth, the destruction of alternative aka space to function in opposition to the political parties’ duet singing of 14th of March and the Opposition.

More to the point, activists who oppose the war are suffocated by the demolition forces of 14th of March and the opposition. They can't do nothing, and personally someone may wonder if they agreed with each other to cripple the activists from expressing their opinions.

Marillionlb posted many videos from the civil war of 75–90 and had this to say about the sad events that occurred:

This is nothing but, as we say back home “mourour al kiram”; depicting a small percentage of events which forged a generation that is now controlling the destiny of our nation and children.
I am part of this generation which is lost in limbo, somewhere between a false sense of patriotism and a deep guilt for having followed and engaged in acts that were against our morals and religious teachings.
This was Lebanon then.
I will leave it up to you to watch and formulate your own opinion.
N.B: Always keep in mind that this nothing but a mere fraction of what actually took place.

I will leave you with this sample of blog posts. Let's hope that the voice of the majority of Lebanese, who are opposed to a civil war, is triumphant this time.

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